My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

WARNING!! Newbies, This Might Freak Ya Out Just A Little!

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Yesterday, I flirted with disaster.  I did something most people are too frightened or too horrified to do.

Skydiving, Anyone?

But don’t worry, you NEVER have to do this.  This post is not meant to pressure you into doing this crazy thing.  What is this insanity to which I am referring?  Canning chicken at home in a pressure canner.

Why is this so scary, you ask?  Just Google pressure canning.  You will find horror stories of exploding canners, botulism, and other threats to your life you are exposed to when can meat at home.  But I laugh at danger and obviously do not fear death, because I jumped right in and did it.  I canned chicken.  19 jars of it!

The jars are not pretty (because I did a raw pack), but they are GOOD!

DSCN5365

WHY?  Why would someone flirt with death and ruin perfectly good chicken at the same time?  Especially when there is an abundance of fresh, frozen, and canned chicken for sale in just about every grocery store in the US.  Truth is, even the “good” canned chicken tastes an awful lot like tuna fish to me, and I think it has a metallic taste to it.

Back to my original question… Why?  Most people in the USA eat meat regularly.  If there was a shortage of food (think run on the grocery store because of the snowpocalypse, or power outages, or earthquakes, or job loss, etc.) whether in your community or just in your own home, what would you do?  Meat is an excellent source of protein, but it can be pricey, and there aren’t a lot of long term options to store it.  You can keep it in your freezer, but if your power goes out, you are out of luck.  There’s always freeze dried meat, which lasts for 20-30 years if stored properly, but it is even more expensive than buying meat from the grocery store.   Canned meat is a good solution, but there’s that metallic taste thing again.

Store Bought Canned Chicken

#1 REASON to can meat…  Meat canned in glass jars does not have a metallic taste and actually tastes good!  It tastes like meat.  Chicken tastes like chicken, beef tastes like beef, and so on.

#2 REASON to can meat…  It is shelf stable for a year or longer.  If your power goes out, you have meat.  If you are busy one night and don’t want to cook, you have meat ready to use!

Here’s a brief overview of what I did.  It’s not a step by step, all-inclusive tutorial on how to can chicken.  There are so many reputable websites detailing how to can chicken that I don’t want to fix what’s not broken.  So, I’ve listed a few at the bottom of this post for you.

Preparing to Can

Preparing to Can

Please keep in mind that it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to follow all the instructions from a reputable source.  Canning food can have disastrous consequences if you do not follow the steps necessary to keep your food safe.

Did I freak you out enough?  Yeah, thinking about canning did that to me for a long time, especially canning meat.  But I’ve been canning for a few years now and have never had any problems.  I follow the instructions to the letter!

First, I bought chicken to can.   (Well, actually I bought the jars and the pressure canner first, but you get the idea.)  You can buy this from any reputable grocery, butcher, farmer, etc.

I bought mine from a company called Zaycon Foods.  They sell fresh food direct from the farmer, rancher, etc. and offer deliveries to most parts of the United States for $1.89/pound (in 40 pound boxes).  Their chicken is fresh (never frozen) and hormone free.  It comes in “wholesale” packaging as shown below.

Zaycon Chicken Delivery

Zaycon Wholesale Packing

Zaycon Chicken Wholesale Packaging

The chicken looked like this when it came out of the box.

Chicken Straight from Packaging

I trimmed the chicken, cut it into pieces, and put it into pint sized jars.  I used about half of the box.

Raw Pack Chicken In Jars

Raw Pack Chicken In Jars

I cleaned the rims on the jars, put lids on, and put the jars in the pressure canner.  Please note that a pressure canner is different than a pressure cooker.  If you wish to safely can meat and low acid foods, you need a pressure canner.

Raw Pack Chicken In Pressure Canner Before Processing

Raw Pack Chicken In Pressure Canner Before Processing

I processed the jars as directed in my pressure canner’s instruction booklet (75 minutes at full pressure), and they came out like this.

Processed Jars in Canner

Processed Jars in Canner

Processed Jars out of canner.  Remember to store your jars without rings.

Processed Jars out of canner. Remember to store your jars without rings.

I decided to open a jar and show you how the chicken turned out.

Chicken In Jar Before Draining.

I drained the jar and put the broth (which you can use in recipes or just mix with the chicken, season, and serve) in a bowl.  My cat expects to have any meat juice drained from any can, so I appeased her.

Drained Broth.

Drained Broth.

Mia enjoying her chicken "juice."

Mia enjoying her chicken “juice.”

After draining the jar, I emptied the jar into a bowl.

Chicken coming out of the jar.

Chicken coming out of the jar.  I used a chopstick rather than a metal utensil to avoid scratching the inside of the jar.

Chicken Out Of The Jar.

Chicken Out Of The Jar.

I did not add salt to my jars, so this needed seasoning before using it in a recipe.  I opted to make a very simple chicken salad (salt, pepper, and a touch of mayo).

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad In The Making.  I keep my salt in an old-fashioned mason jar.

Chicken Salad.

Chicken Salad.

And it turned out so YUMMY!  I couldn’t resist nibbling on the chicken as a made the salad either.

I promised you some links to explore the wonderful world of canning chicken.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Simply Canning – Canning Chicken (Hot and Raw Pack)

USDA Canning Guide – Meat

National Center for Home Food Preservation – FAQs

If canning still scares you, don’t worry.  You don’t have to do it.  I promise I won’t drive you crazy with canning posts.

Let me ask you a question…  What are you doing to ensure you and your family have good, shelf-stable protein sources?  Think about picking up an extra jar of peanut butter or can of tuna fish the next time you visit the grocery store.  Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions!  Please share below.

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Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, http://forayintofoodstorage.com. Have a question about Food Storage? Email me: forayintofoodstorage@gmail.com.

39 thoughts on “WARNING!! Newbies, This Might Freak Ya Out Just A Little!

  1. So wait… does pressure canning COOK the chicken? really curious about this, because yes, canning meat scares the crap outta me.

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  2. Cool! Thanks for the follow! 🙂

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  3. I have to say, pressure canning really does kind of freak me out. I started using a water bath just a little while back and that was intimidating, I don’t think I’m quite ready for pressure canning. It does seem that the meat would taste worlds better than that store bought though. You’ve given me something to think about!

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    • I thought about canning meat for a couple of years before I tried it (for the first time yesterday). Honestly, water bath canning (fruit, tomatoes, jams and jellies) was a little bit more complicated than pressure canning chicken, but I wouldn’t have believed it until I tried it.

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      • Ive been water bathing for a while now (i grew up with fowlers vacola system) and I’m thinking of buying a pressure canner but wuth some trepidation. I was wondering if the fruit tastes the same/better in water bath vs pressure canning? Also with the meat canning how do you then use it in your meals? Eg stews-do you can the whole stew or do you add the canned meat and cook it lke you normally would with uncanned meat. I’ve never eaten pressure canned food before.

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        • Thanks for reading my blog and for your comment!

          First, I have never pressure canned fruit. I have used my pressure canner as a water bath canner, so I could can twice as much at once, and it turned out the same. I would imagine that if your pressure canner has instructions for pressure canning fruit, the results would be similar, but I don’t know as I’ve never done it myself.

          Regarding canned meat, if I were to make stew with it, I would add the ingredients separately timing it based on whether or not the ingredients were already cooked. I believe there may be some safety tested pressure canned stew recipes, but I’ve made the choice to can everything separately, so that I can use it however I want rather than having pre-made meals. Also, I would sorry that the potatoes and carrots would get too mushy with the large amount of time required to pressure can the meat.

          Truth is, most of us have eaten pressure canned food before. Canned meat and veggies from the grocery store are commercially pressure canned. Pressure canned chicken at home tastes a lot like canned chicken from the store, except that it doesn’t have a metallic taste.

          Best of luck to you! Please let me know if you try pressure canning!

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  4. 😊I’ve been pressure canning for many years – chicken, beef, ham, pork and beans, stew,, sockeye salmon, soup stocks, mushrooms……anything pressure canned lasts indefinitely if it remains sealed. You’re right – tastes much better than store bought, very convenient if you don’t feel like starting a meal from scratch. I’ve even taught my husband how to pressure can – sometimes the sockeye shows up on a day I’m at work and its best canned fresh. Once you get over the nerves of dealing with a pressure canner – the possibilities are next to endless.

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  5. sounds like you had a lot of fun! I’ve done some chicken pressure canning myself and we have a few stored. The easiest thing was shredded pork which I can do raw packed so it was really much more convenient 🙂 I will check out the link to Zaycon, maybe we can get good chicken that way. Thanks for the tip!

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  6. How amazing! I wish i could do something like that, but just getting the equipment… eek!
    Oh and, “snowpocalypse” … *snicker*

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  7. Chicken is my favorite thing to can. It is so quick and easy to do. Then, making dinner with a jar of chicken is quick and easy to do, too! I got to the point that I can process a batch of chicken in the evening after coming home from work, so it doesn’t even have to be a “production.” For those who haven’t tried it – jump in!

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  8. Canning chicken and it taste like tuna was my biggest fear. I HATE the smell of canned tuna. I can eat tuna steaks, cooked tuna, and sushi tuna. But canned tuna is just WRONG. So hearing you have the same distaste, for the smell and taste, I am reconsidering canning chicken. I can other meats, but stayed away from chicken because of how store canned chicken tastes and smells. Thanks!

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  9. I’m so impressed! I would be terrified, but then again, I’ve had a few too many disasters with my pressure canner. It’s definitely time for me to get a newer one…

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  10. OK, you’ve given me the inspiration to try it! I have pressure canned a lot of my produce and even tried the “ball blue-book” veggie soup (I love that recipe!) , but I have always been concerned with canning meat. Thanks for a great blog post!

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  11. This is a great post, Laurie! Canned meat in the stores freaks me out a little, and yep, it totally tastes metallic. I appreciate the step-by-step post. And your cat is so pretty!

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  12. I have been canning using a pressure cooker and a water bath canner for 30+ years. I have only canned vegetables and jams (not meat) because I grew a lot of veggies and my freezers could not hold everything. I only had a couple of jars (sauerkraut and tomatoes) not seal properly so I just refrigerated them and used them soon after. I found if you are careful and follow the precise directions you will not have any issues; at least that is the case for me. I never had any jar explode! A pressure cooker can be a little intimidating but it is so much fun and practical to use. I still use my original Sears (Kenmore) pressure cooker canner 🙂

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  13. Reblogged this on unifiedserenity and commented:
    This blogger just joined my site and so I checked out their site. What a great place to visit for all of use preppers, and this article on canning meat is EXCELLENT! Great resources here folks!

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  14. What a GREAT blog! We’re on a journey similar with food storage, trying to eat from our farm as much as possible year round- raising it all makes it even more precious and wonderful to preserve the seasonal bounties. I pressure canned turkey and duck last year for the first time and it was SO good, it really reminded me of tuna. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures in food storage!

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  15. You are so brave! Lol!
    I simply MUST overcome my fear of the pressure canner! There are so many things I want to can that can’t be done with a water bath canner!

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  16. Lol how funny. I spent last year learning the ropes of canning, but have yet to try canning anything meat related. I would love to, but get scared! Thanks for all the pictures, I am way more likely to try it now. Pinned!

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  17. Thank you for following my blog. I had never heard of canned meat before your post. I am intrigued and will have to look into pressure canning.

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  20. Thank you so much for this post! This is my ‘one day I will can chicken’ dream! Now I know I can do it!! No pun intended. :))

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